Horror Hound Review: 100 Tears

100 tears

SPOILER ALERT

I have a confession to make, one that is really going to make me sound like a psychopath – there is very little in this world that makes me happier than lashings of fake blood. Which is why awful B-movies like this one are hugely enjoyable to me despite the lack of decent acting and any plotline. It follows the old chestnut of a killer clown with a giant meatcleaver going on a rampage and leaving a trail of blood and guts in his wake while two amateur reporters are on his tail. It is one massive gore fest, heads lopped off and intestines spilling out and throats slashed every two minutes, so if you’re like me and every now and then you just want a stupid slasher movie that’s entertaining without you having to pay too much attention, this is the one for you. I’ve watched this while off work with a splitting headache and what is basically down to working too hard so it was ideal. If you want a plot line and believable character development, don’t bother.

100 Tears isn’t actually a particularly scary film; Gerty the Clown is sinister enough but who isn’t creeped out by a painted smile and bloodstained circus attire? There were a couple of attempts at building up tension, notably in the finale scenes in the warehouse, but they didn’t really take off. There’s only so many times a clown creeping up behind someone while raising a bloody meatcleaver can make me hold my breath. But believe me, it is gory and I did find myself squirming in my seat. Which after so many horror films isn’t that easy to do. But when the director is in fact a special effects artist, you can expect all the visuals to be great. I was worried when I first started watching it that the effects were going to be terrible because it was clearly very low-budget, but it just goes to show that you don’t need huge sums of money to have stunningly, stomach-churningly good effects.

Another plus was the friendship between the two reporters, Jennifer and Mark. It’s a bit tragic that one of the most believable portrayals of a male/female friendship without the whole ‘are they/aren’t they going to get it on’ crap comes from a pretty low-budget slasher film, but it made me so happy. Jennifer threatening to ‘shit on his pillow’ after Mark farts at her? That is how friends act around each other. Note to Hollywood; women are absolutely grim 80% of the time. Trust me; my female friends have threatened to shit through my letterbox, woken me up by farting on me and have licked my food. And Jennifer is a gorgeous and career-driven woman at the same time… yes, it is possible! Who knew?

But there were a couple of things that let it down for me. The acting from the leads was fairly sound, but the extras were bordering on atrocious. I don’t know about them, but I’d be reacting with a lot more fear if a bulky guy in full clown regalia came running at me down a corridor with a ridiculously over sized cleaver. And they honestly managed to fall over everything. A lot of the fight/escape attempts were pretty poorly executed; it felt like they weren’t judged very well and people were almost having to wait around for Gerty to catch up with them. The scene in which Mark is fighting with Gerty in the warehouse was the worst for me; he literally runs up and down about a foot away from Gerty, who manages to hit just about everything apart from him. It was clumsily coordinated and that made it a bit awkward to watch.

My final thought is on Christine, who turns out to be Gerty’s daughter and joins him on a killing spree at the end. I really can’t decide how I feel about her character. On one level, I loved it. She had absolutely no remorse and while Gerty carries out his kills in a detached, emotionless way, she is clearly loving every second. But she was basically a carbon copy of Harley Quinn, blond pigtails and all. I adore Harley Quinn so of course I loved Christine, but from a reviewing perspective it was just really unoriginal. And killer clown and cute girl killing combo is going to have a Harley/Joker vibe, but I just thought they could have altered her a little bit to make it not quite so obvious.

So all in all, decent film which is great to watch if you don’t feel like concentrating too hard and just want a gore fest. Brilliant practical effects that were honestly the highlight of the film, a pretty badass villain, some good characters and Voltaire pops up on the soundtrack which I was very excited about! Just don’t go into this expecting it to be anything too phenomenal.

Horror Hound Review: Starry Eyes

(CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS)

Starry Eyes was quite a strange choice for my first film review. It’s definitely high up on my list of great horror films, but if someone asked me for my favourites it probably wouldn’t cross my mind. It’s not the cleverest, the scariest or the goriest film I’ve ever watched. And yet something about it really sticks in my mind. Clark Collis in EW says that while ‘What is the price of fame?’ isn’t a particularly original question, the answer given in Starry Eyes certainly is. It is so devastatingly bleak; the corruption of the Hollywood elite, how much of herself the protagonist Sarah has to sacrifice to achieve her ambitions and the effects this has on her in both a mental and physicalStarry_Poster27x40.indd way form a very cynical outlook on the film industry.

What makes it so original however, is that Sarah is not just the manipulated victim; she wasn’t pushed very hard into homicidal insanity. Her own monstrous ambition did most of the work. Even when she realises what it is doing to her, she keeps going forward. The part of the film that really shook me and has stayed with me vividly is the image of Sarah crawling towards the phone, covered in blood and filth, emaciated and with her hair and teeth falling out and screaming ‘I’m dying!’ to the sinister producer who simply cackles with laughter. It might sound pompous and ridiculous, but after reading Heart of Darkness, it reminds me of Kurtz’s final exclamation of ‘The horror!’. For me it’s always the simplest phrases the have the greatest impact, and the sheer desperation in her voice is haunting. Really, Alex Essoe’s performance is brilliant. Sarah isn’t necessarily all that likable, but she is believable in all her vulnerability and anger and insecurity. There’s something engaging about her as a character; she is infuriating, but she falls apart so spectacularly that you can’t help but be fascinated.

However, it must be said that there were a couple of things in the film that really irked me; the first being how stereotypical the Director’s assistant was. Scary, sterile and German. It seemed like a massive cop out the try and add a feeling of threat with such a cliche. The second was the random gay ‘kiss’ (if that’s the right word – watch it and you’ll get what I mean) between Sarah and Tracy at the end. I know, me, complaining about a lesbian scene? Unheard of. But this seemed forced and unnecessary. I think the idea was to show how Sarah’s transformation had altered her and she can now take control of a situation? I don’t know, it just felt like it was thrown in for cheap shock value. But they don’t make much of a negative impact on an otherwise great film. Apart from these cliched moments, the scares are built up with an atmospheric soundtrack and a build up of tension and emotion as Sarah is constantly knocked down by rejection, a monotonous job and passive-aggressive friends. You might not like her – I certainly didn’t. But you go start feeling like you’re going mad with her.

Horror reviews are a bit odd to do; fear is so subjective, and although I’ve watched exactly 183 horror films in my life (yes, I’ve counted. I’m a nerd) I’m quite easy to scare. But this unsettled me on a far deeper level than jump scares and if you want a film that is gory as  well as psychologically horrifying then I’d definitely recommend Starry Eyes.